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Splitting Malay votes? Syed Saddiq tells Dr M his youth-led party is for all Malaysians, not one race

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Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 3, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman is pictured at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur August 3, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 14 — Muar MP Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman has denied his youth-centric party will divide Malay voters as claimed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Instead, the former Bersatu Youth leader told his former mentor that while his yet-to-be-registered party may be led by young people, it is geared towards serving all Malaysians regardless of their age and race.

“I am not here [in politics] to only be the servant of the Malays. I’m here to be the servant for all Malaysians. I’m not here just to unite the Malays, but to unite all Malaysians,” Syed Saddiq told Malaysiakini in an interview published today.

The 27-year-old said he has “great respect” for Dr Mahathir, but said he disagreed with the 95-year-old’s recent remarks that his youth-centric party will exclude the vast number of Malaysian voters who are older.

Syed Saddiq told Malaysiakini that his party is “youth-led” and not “youth-exclusive”.

“At the same time, it must be for all Malaysians and to fight for the underprivileged, poor and be policy-centred,” he said.

He added that he believed Malaysia’s strength is in the diversity of its people.

Syed Saddiq was responding to Dr Mahathir’s reported remarks to Malaysiakini last Thursday.

The two-time prime minister expressed scepticism that a youth party could survive the elections by discounting older voters and indicated that Syed Saddiq’s new party could split the Malay vote bank.

Syed Saddiq is currently travelling the country to get public feedback on his youth-centric party and was recently spotted in Sabah, which is in the grips of a state election fever.

Syed Saddiq caught the attention of many after announcing his intent to form a new youth-based party to focus on youth agenda after declining to join former prime minister Dr Mahathir’s new party, Pejuang.

The Muar MP said his party will be made up of youths, activists, technocrats, professionals, entrepreneurs, modern farmers, civil society leaders and many more.

He had said that they will rely on crowdfunding as well as impose a limit on corporate donations so they’re not “enslaved” by anyone.

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